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How Great Leaders Build Trust – 8 Key Factors

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 — August 2nd, 2022

How Great Leaders Build Trust – 8 Key Factors

Do your colleagues and team members trust you? You may say “yes, of course.” But do you really know?

Below are eight behaviors that boost trustworthiness. Is there one that requires more attention in your role as a leader?

1. Be self-aware. When you’re self-aware, you know how you’re perceived. You observe what thoughts and beliefs drive your behavior. You understand when you’re operating from your ego and when you’re not. You examine how your environment is influencing you and your outcomes.

With that self-awareness, you can intentionally take the actions that build trust and get the best results for your team.

Partnering with a Leadership Coach is one of the best ways to increase your self-awareness. A skilled coach asks the right questions, observes patterns, and helps clients uncover beliefs that drive behaviors.

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Observe your own behaviors, journal your observations, meditate, and read thought-provoking books to also increase self-awareness.

2. Better yourself.  You build on your strengths and work on your weaknesses—consistently striving to become a better leader.

3. Admit mistakes. If you refuse to admit your mistakes, your team members won’t feel comfortable admitting theirs. They also won’t be confident that there’s accountability for the team.

Mistakes are inevitable. It’s how you handle them that makes a difference.

4. Allow disagreement. You feel comfortable with your team members disagreeing with you and disagreeing with each other. How else will you get people’s best ideas? 

If you ignore, dismiss, or show favoritism to team members, they won’t keep sharing their ideas, which creates stagnation and limits results.

5. Solicit feedback. Team members are often hesitant to provide their manager with feedback even if they are asked for it. If there’s trust, a team member is more likely to provide it.

Still, it’s helpful if the manager asks open-ended questions that help the feedback process.

Example questions may be: How can I better support you in your role? What can I do more of/less of to help you grow in your role?

Also, a coach can interview team members and colleagues and bring a summary of the feedback to you. This takes courage but working with a coach provides a supportive environment and helps you grow as a leader.

6. Be honest. Softening a corporate message and withholding executive information may sometimes be necessary.

However, your team members need to trust you to tell the truth and trust your motives. Saying what you mean and doing what you say are critical to the trust factor.

7. Allow for individuality. Your team members won’t trust you if they don’t feel like they can be themselves around you. The strengths, personalities, backgrounds, and motivations of your team members vary.

Encouraging them to use their strengths and shine in their individual ways builds trust and leads to better results.

8. Actively listen. Team members engage more with the mission if they feel heard and seen. Even if they don’t fully agree with a decision, they contribute more easily knowing their thoughts are valued.

“Whatever our situation, we need to get good at establishing, extending, and restoring trust—not as a manipulative technique, but as the most effective way of relating to and working with others, and the most effective way of getting results.” Says Stephen M.R. Covey in his book “The Speed of Trust—The One Thing That Changes Everything.”

Which behavior resonates most with you—as a positive or challenging experience?

What would you add to the list?

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